Finding the flavors of Autumn

Sunday and Chris and I are off driving around Wirral on a lovely sunny day, we wanted to find the flavors of Autumn, the colour, the crispness, the floaty leaves, the beautiful reflections. Cough cough, can someone tell the trees in Wirral its time!
We went to Rabymere, its owned by the Angling Society people so you cant walk around it and anyway the trees were still green, we went to Dibbinsdale Nature Reserve, green trees, we went to Portsunlight in Bromborough, better but not great, we went to Caldy (mega rich big houses, i could tell you its where my Dad grew up but the wrong impression would be gained. He did grow up there but was the gardeners son ūüėČ ) We went to Arrowe Park which was also ok. BUT not what i wanted. Am i too early for autumnal colour? Will it happen or is it going to be a ‘damp squib’, come on trees put on your Autumnal shades, Canada and America will not outdo us! anyway i can’t afford to go there just now. I think i will leave it a little longer and try again, you never know it may be we are just having a late Autumn.
If that is so, one thing, why are the trees alongside the roads changing colour? Pollution?

Escaping the mad house

I had an urge to escape the mad house i call home, i craved the peace and quiet of my own company, a letting go of the responsibility of  being a wife, mother, carer. So i grabbed my camera and my new tripod, the other one fell to pieces after only a few months. Side line, i bought a Manfrotto tripod which is pretty neat. And i headed down to Gilroy Rd nature reserve.

Over the last 12 months or so i have been photographing specific scenes there, a gate which i find¬†fascinating, a stand of trees, the pond, all at different times of the year and using varying techniques. ¬†The sun was shining and it was a lovely day, not overly hot or cold either, the sky was a deep blue and the clouds interesting shapes, how i was looking forward to solitude and my own company. First up was the gate, i had decided to try a multiple exposure HDR ¬†technique as i was pretty sure it would look really great and just as i am setting up for the shot, well lets just say all of the dogs on my side of the Wirral decided to take their owners for a walk. I HATE taking photos when people are watching me, i feel like my privacy is being violated, so i waited and taking my time took the shot, sounds like a cereal killer ūüėČ

I dont know about anyone else but when i am in photographer mode i look at things in a different way, all of a sudden even the smallest of things took on a different view and i was quickly taking  photos of anything that took my eye. I wandered down paths and around bends stopping at interesting views and looking at the wildlife flashing past too fast for me to photograph. I was so enjoying the peace and tranquility that i was very startled when a young lad walked around the bend in the path carrying his fishing gear, nearly tripping over me as i am kneeling down, butt up, trying to focus my camera. I dont know who was more embarrassed, me or him! It turns out a dozen lads had decided that the day was too good to waste on computer games and thought it a good idea to fish the pond, even though they know, im sure, that the pond is a no fishing pond. Still, they were not disturbing anyone other than the fish and i dont think they were all that successful anyway.

Several wonderful hours later i wandered back home to my responsibilities again, i felt so much better after my ME time and i knew i had several good shots, i only had to pries my laptop from a childs hot sweaty hands and i could transfer them off my memory card and ooh and ahh over the images.   I decided to use photomatix to merge the images and photoshop to tweak them, its an ongoing thing but i am very happy with what i got out of the afternoon. Below is a sample of my work, there are other images on my flickr page if you want to see them through the year, I hope you enjoy them, if you do, or not, please leave a comment.

Bidston Observatory

I have long had a fascination with the Observatory on Bidston Hill, wondering what sort of things could be seen through their telescopes. I dont really think i understood that the ‘telescope’ in question was actually an equatorial telescope which was used mainly for the observation of comets and a transit telescope which was used to determination the time from the stars. Not the exciting constellation gazing that i thought!
Bidston Observatory was built in 1866 using local sandstone excavated from the site, one of the functions of the Observatory was to determine the exact time and up to the 18th of July 1969, at exactly 1:00 p.m. each day the ‘One O’Clock Gun’ was fired.
On the Hill is a 41‚ĀĄ2-foot-long carving of a Sun Goddess, carved into a flat rock north-east of the Observatory – it is supposed to face the direction of the rising sun on Midsummer’s Day and was thought to have been carved by the Norse-Irish around 1000 AD. An ancient carving of a horse is also located on bare rock to the north of the Observatory though i still have not been able to find either.
Bidston Hill is one of the rumoured resting places for the Holy Grail and may have been mentioned in the tale of Gawain in his account on travelling near the Wirral, there are also links to Joseph of Arimethea in the area too.
If you stand on the top of the hill it is said that you can hear the sound of water rushing on the rocks near the Observatory, this has led to speculation that there is an underground water source which may link tunnels from the Hill to New Brighton.
The Wirral has a rich and very interesting history, whether you believe it all or not, it is still a great place to visit and the photographic opportunities many. From a quick romp over the ‘Hill’ to a leisurely walk around the ‘Lake’ there are so many beautiful vistas you can spend hours photographing and not cover anywhere near a significant portion of it.

The other BIG draw to Bidston Hill for me is the Windmill! It is believed that there has been a windmill on this site since 1596, the current Windmill is a brick built tower with a cap that could be turned so that the sails could catch the wind, though how would they have got carts up and down the hill to collect the flour? I do know that the Windmill is something i will be going back to as i think that it will be a very interesting subject in all weathers and lighting situations.

I was speaking to a great guy at the tram museum¬†in Birkenhead today about trams and buses. He is certain that there are buses buried in the field behind the windmill. (I think it was landfill at one time.) Wouldn’t it be great to get Time Team down and find out!